I’ve been pre-occupied with Sketchnoting and doodling for the past few (or more than a few) posts, but this week’s enewsletter from the folks at Vital Smarts led me back to another treasure, personal story. Here’s what they say about personal story in the context of encouraging workplace safety, but it has applications to all things.
The typical mistake we make in motivating is to rely on verbal persuasion: data dumps, lectures, sermons, and rants. These are the least effective ways to motivate people.
The most effective way is personal experience. For example, we found that nurses who suffered a hospital-acquired infection were much more likely to remind their peers to wash their hands. Their experience turned hand hygiene into a moral passion.
But people don’t need to be injured to become motivated. Personal experience isn’t required. Our nurses were just as motivated if they’d had a family member or close friend who suffered an infection. Vicarious experience can be just as powerful.
There’s always something good each week from the folks at Vital Smarts. Their book Crucial Conversations includes some very simple tips for getting through tough conversations, if I can just remember them when I’m in the middle of one. See what you think.